Feeds

Curiosity needs OS upgrade before getting down to science

New software release on the way to wimpy martian computer

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Curiosity Mars mission The Curiosity Rover will upgrade its operating system before getting down to serious science, NASA said today.

The Rover's onboard computer has wimpy specs, boasting just:

  • A BAE RAD 750 single-board computer with a 200Mhz Power PC CPU;
  • Two gigabytes of flash memory;
  • 256 megabytes of DRAM;
  • 256 kilobytes of electrically erasable programmable read-only memory.

At a press conference today, NASA suggested the latter is about to get a workout, with panellists saying the Rover's flight computer needs an upgrade before it can start to perform sophisticated experiments.

Only once the upgrade has been delivered and successfully installed will the Rover start to move or operate its more complex instruments, and at this morning's press conference the new OS was mentioned as a major risk factor.

The vehicle, panellists said, has so far done everything right and all the riskiest moments went off without a hitch. The OS upgrade is the Rover's next critical milestone.

Getting that update to the Rover will take time, as it is yet to deploy its main antennae. For now, the vehicle has a 40 megabits per second connection to Earth, when it can get it. That's up from an initial data trickle of just five megabits.

The extra bandwidth has already been put to good use, with the video below assembled from 200+ stills gathered by the lander during its descent to the red planet beamed back for your viewing pleasure.

NASA expects the unfurling of Curiosity's antennae will mean higher-quality videos and images will soon start to arrive. Those artefacts will, over the first week or so of the Rover's mission, compete for bandwidth with the operating system update.

All of which makes a decision about whether or not to adopt Windows 8 seem pretty simple, doesn't it? ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.